Technical Details of the Research
Our groundbreaking superior research designs were recognized by peer-review and published in major journals:
- Psychoneuroendocrinology Journal (stress study)
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (comparison trial with MBSR, re: positive emotions)
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal (loneliness and social contact study)
Other mindfulness training apps have weak research, indirect research, or no research at all, backing up that they can teach effective mindfulness skills.
This app delivered course used the gold standard level of evidence: Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT). We further increased the level of evidence beyond the average RCT based studies used in mindfulness meditation research.
Our studies used well designed protocols taking into consideration weaknesses in previous research. Our high-quality research designs are more likely to achieve meaningful estimates of treatment efficacy:
- Objective measures demonstrating impact on stress biology: 20% lower BP and 50% lower cortisol levels than control groups, after a stressful event.
- Used actual situations to evoke a stress response (TSST – Tier Social Stress Test).
- Active control‐group design: We used active vs passive control interventions. Our unique, well-matched, “not-mindfulness” sham treatment intervention minimized confounding factors. This active control intervention is absent in most other studies that only use passive controls of: no treatment, standard care, or waiting list controls. Thus, demonstrating that users of our app are truly leaning the mindfulness meditation skills needed to reap the rewards of this skill set.
- Head-to-head parallel studies comparing our app training to standard Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the other leading evidenced-based approach to mindfulness training. We can find no other study that compared MBSR 8-week, on-site, training, with a mindfulness app. MBSR is a standardized protocol that involves mindfulness meditation, patient education, and group support. Our brief 5-hour course was shown to be as effective as their standard 8-week program, regarding positive emotions, happiness, and well-being.
The convenience, cost effectiveness, and brevity of our intervention has important implications for decreasing barriers to access for those that can benefit from learning mindfulness meditation skills.
A randomized controlled clinical trial provides the first strong experimental evidence that a smartphone based system can substantially lower cortisol and blood pressure during a stressful event. The trial used an evocative stress condition (TSST), and accounted for placebo effect with a sham mindfulness control.
These unique research design protocols using objective stress bio-markers, well-matched sham control program, and the TSST stress event, overcame many of the limitations of previous mindfulness research. The results showed that the participants in the active EBM intervention, relative to control groups, had reduced cortisol and systolic blood pressure reactivity. Their blood pressure readings were approximately 20 percent lower and their cortisol responses were more than 50 percent lower.
The study was published in the major peer-reviewed journal, Psychoneuroendocrinology.
With respect to the second benefit of happiness and positive emotions: in a parallel clinical trial the EBM app system was compared to standard MBSR in- person, group based training, with a live instructor.
Even though the MBSR training was four times longer, the EBM app training produced similar benefits in daily life: increasing positive emotions and enhancement of happiness and wellbeing.
The study used an active sham control and was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Loneliness & Social Isolation
“A new Carnegie Mellon University study suggests smartphone-based mindfulness training may help individuals feel less lonely and motivate them to interact with more people.” – CMU Press Release.
Emily Lindsay, who led the study at CMU and is now a research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh: “Loneliness and social isolation are among the most robust known risk factors for poor health and early death. But so far, few interventions have been effective for reducing loneliness and increasing social contact. Our research shows that a 14-day smartphone-based mindfulness program can target both…”
Study participants that received training in the EBM course reduced daily life loneliness by 22 percent and increased social contact by an average of two interactions each day. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
If you’d like to receive pdf’s of the full research studies validating the training of the EBM course, and start a discussion to see if our program is a fit with your organization, contact us: